17109. The Evolution of the Free Press in America.
This paper traces the evolution of the free press in America from the early Colonial Era through the 19th century. Argues that notwithstanding the First Amendment provisions, freedom of the press existed more as an idea than as a reality for the first decades of American nationhood and that when finally put into practice, a “free press” was not the equivalent of a “responsible press”. Includes analysis of the press in Colonial America, looking at America’s English newspaper heritage and discussing the pamphlet and broadside forerunners of the first newspapers; considers the foundations of press freedom as established through key early libel cases such as the Zenger case; profiles the role of newspapers in the American Revolution; traces the development of the popular press; considers freedom of press during the Civil War; and examines the development of the modern press in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 31 pages; 69 footnotes; 17 bibliographic sources. 9,026 words.
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